Chris Steven, Abuja
As preparations heat up ahead of the 2109 general elections, a coalition of civil society organizations has alerted Nigerians on the desperate plan afoot by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, to win the general elections.
The group, under the aegis of Save Nigeria Network said the party had perfected plans to achieve the aim through campaign of calumnies.
Patience Daniel, Secretary General, SNN, while speaking at a press conference on Thursday, said the plans had been hatched by the by the PDP to manufacture falsehood and distort facts in its campaign for the 2019 presidential and other elections using some key government agencies and parastatals.
Her statement reads below.
The Coalition of CSOs for Good Governance in Nigeria called this all important press briefing to alert Nigerians to a plot that has been hatched by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to concoct lies, manufacture falsehood and distort facts in its campaign for the 2019 presidential and other elections using some key government agencies and parastatals. We are raising this alarm because we believe that it is wrong for the electorate to be misled into deciding what candidate to vote for based on falsehood since this has the potential to distort the outcomes of the elections in ways that jeopardize Nigeria’s democracy.
Part of the plot is to smear the administration with non-existing corruption allegations in some agencies under the direct supervision of the Federal Government. This dubious plot was initially in the realm of speculations but there is now concrete evidence with the publication of by a group that calls itself ‘Get Nigeria Working Again’ of an infographic that attempted to malign the incumbent government, citing unresolved corruption in NNPC, NEMA, NHIS, PINE Fund, Bird Flu intervention, Abacha Loot and Security Vote. The inclusion of these agencies and expenditures in the referenced publications is nothing but a calculated attempt to unleash terror on the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government.
This plot is in itself an insult to the sensibility of the voting population in that it seeks to play on their intelligence by exploiting the believability of printed matter. That is to say that those promoting these lies see Nigerians to swallow their lies hook, line and sinker based on the assumption that one it has been printed or published it would be considered the truth. Playing such prank on the people is the lowest form of fraud possible.
We believe in the power of information to set the record straight, which is why we are urging Nigerians to be circumspect when processing claims being made by the PDP. A detailed background of the party and the issues it is trying to exploit are of importance in this matter. Even though the PDP elements have created the impression that they are drawing attention to germane issues, their antecedents and involvement in the same issues create suspicion.
It must be noted that most of the instances claimed by the PDP in alleging corruption under the present administration actually have their roots in the 16 years that this party misruled, destroyed and looted Nigeria. They are now being made to appear as having occurred under the Buhari government. They have now turned around to pass the bulk simply because the present government took its time to duly ensure that investigation into what transpired in the various agencies were thoroughly concluded.
What these treasury looters have done is to use the agents they have planted in the named organizations to produce fictitious documents upon which they based their misleading claims. They also manipulated dates so that crimes committed in the PDP years are now being presented as incidents that occurred under the present government. Unfortunately for them, Nigerians are aware that the issues raised by this group pre-date the Buhari presidency and were in reality transacted under the watch of PDP.
Another level of the conspiracy is to activate the caucuses of the PDP in the National Assembly to conduct kangaroo probes of the said corrupt agencies and use the manipulated outcomes of such investigations to level impeachable offenses against President Buhari. The discussion among the team that activated this plot is that President Buhari would be distracted from his ongoing issue based campaign once he is served impeachment notice.
Nigerians should be worried that these plans are already being implemented by the said caucuses in the National Assembly with a slew of frivolous investigations ordered by the House of Representatives and the Senate. The decision to probe the Social Intervention Fund and Sure-P by the Senate is only the beginning of the gang-up as the concerned federal lawmakers would soon add all the aforementioned agencies and instances to the list of things they want to probe in order to produce campaign materials for the PDP and also use threat of impeachment to distract Mr. President.
The Coalition of CSOs for Good Governance in Nigeria therefore wishes to lay these issues on the table and to put Nigerians and the world on notice that these people who have failed in every other endeavor have now decided that the only campaign tools they have left is to tarnish the image of well-meaning Nigerians that are managing the respective agencies and programmes in their desperation to get at President Buhari. We further want to draw attention to:
The institutional damage being done to the affected organizations as they now have to make extra efforts at confidence building among their various stakeholders.
The destruction of Nigeria’s image in the international community as a country that does not do things right with the attendant consequence that investors’ confidence is dampened thereby denying the country of foreign direct investment.
The potential to heating up the polity with a dud impeachment move against the President as this would further deepen the fault lines brought about by the PDP in its 16 years of misadventure.
The distortion of the political process by basing campaign on lies that undermine activities related to the election.
Our coalition urge the PDP, its candidate(s) and agents to desist from the destructive path they have chosen with a dare for them to engage in issues’ based campaign. The PDP has the advantage of 16 years in office to Mr President’s less than four years in office. Had they done the right things in those years they would have had a basket of achievements to market to Nigerians instead of trying to blame the present government for the mess they created, which the incumbent has spent over three years trying to clean up.